The SEC lawyer behind the Brocade backdating case has resurfaced months after leaving the SEC.
Patrick Murphy, a branch chief in the SEC’s San Francisco office until this past summer, joined WilmerHale in Palo Alto as counsel last week.
See who else WilmerHale's recruited from the SEC, after the jump.
“It was a fantastic experience and it really helped develop my career, but I knew I wanted to work in private practice representing individuals and entities,” Murphy told Legal Pad on Monday.
After leaving the SEC in the summer, Murphy went underground. “It was nice to take some time off,” Murphy said. “But I was starting to get a little antsy.”
The lead SEC attorney on the government’s first stock option backdating case against Brocade, Murphy declined to say much about the case because it’s still in litigation. He did say the case was “interesting,” adding that he was pleased with how it turned out. (The SEC charged a number of executives and settled with the company for $7 million; the U.S. attorney won criminal convictions of former CEO Greg Reyes and HR chief Stephanie Jensen.)
Mark Fagel, head of the SEC’s San Francisco office, said that Murphy will be missed.
“Patrick was involved in some of the most high-profile cases, including Brocade and Metropolitan Mortgage,” Fagel said Monday. “He’s a very smart lawyer and very tough negotiator.”
Murphy worked at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison before joining the SEC as a staff attorney eight years ago. From then until now, Murphy said, he saw a marked change in the office, “in terms of increased complexity and aggressiveness.”
On the West Coast, Boston-based WilmerHale is becoming a destination for ex-SEC lawyers. Randall Lee, head of the SEC’s L.A. office, joined last year.
Murphy said he turned down offers from other firms, including partnership offers, to join WilmerHale as counsel. He’ll have the chance to become partner, which he said he wants to do. As for his new private practice, he’ll be doing everything that you’d expect of an SEC lawyer: securities litigation and SEC investigations.
Undoubtedly, Murphy will be going up against his old pals any day now. From the defense side, Murphy said, he thinks having worked with the lawyers there will help.
Fagel agreed. “I’m look forward to seeing him on the other side of the table.”
— Zusha Elinson